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Ardennes 1944 : Hitler's Last Gamble by…
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Ardennes 1944 : Hitler's Last Gamble

by Antony Beevor

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Showing 5 of 5
Excellent history of Hitler's gamble in December 1944 ,which we know as the "Battle of the Bulge". The author is very critical of Generals Bradley and Montgomery , showing them as "prima donnas" ,who were more worried about their public persona and were prone to take and give offence easily. Indeed the "heroes" of this battle were the ordinary foot soldiers who stopped and held up the German advance, while the Generals were in shock at the "intelligence failure". Beevor also points out the suffering of Belgian civilians during the battle. We also read that some Generals were encouraging their men to take no prisoners in retaliation for the German shootings at Malmedy. Very good reading. ( )
  tbrennan1 | Feb 20, 2016 |
I always approach Antony Beevor's books expecting the same high standards:
Meticulous research / attention to detail/ well paced narrative/ impartiality and an ability to retain reader interest.
This book does not disappoint.Readers will find out all about this winner takes all phase of the war which reveals the strengths and weaknesses on b. A wonderful book!ooth sides and how close the allies came to losing before the Germans literally ran out of gas! ( )
  prichardson | Feb 14, 2016 |
Excellent summary and analysis for the largest battle fought by US troops in WW 2. Typical senior officer malaise; Bradley was out of touch, lounging in Luxembourg and spent most of his energy and thoughts on making certain that Montgomery would rerurn his loaned Army and whether he would be discredited for his failure to act. As a long time friend and colleague of Eisenhower, he need not worry. He got his army back and a fourth star. Montgomery was his usual arrogant and obnoxious self and was finally shunted to an appropriately secondary role for the remainder of the war.

Lots of maps, hooray! Having traveled these areas of battle recently, I am truly astonished that anyone, in 1944, could maneuver armies in this terrain. This landscape produced many fierce fire fights fought by both sides with determination by the American side and fanaticism by the Germans.

At the sharp end, there were many mistakes made but enough unit and tactical competence, assisted by horrendous terrain and weather to slow the Germans until they quite literally ran out of gas. ( )
  jamespurcell | Feb 5, 2016 |
A very readable and reasonable account of the last great German offensive of the war on the western front. With the use of maps and concise dialogue this is a story that is easy to follow although in places, you can find yourself searching to see where the various units are. A good narrative that is uncompromising about the failures of both sides and in deed in the egos and vested interests in the allied commanders too. Interesting and worth reading for those who like history but particularly for those that want to know about the western front, high leadership and the end of the war from an Allied point of view. ( )
  aadyer | Nov 21, 2015 |
I have been a fan of Beevor’s books for some time. While not exactly a series, he has done a succession of WW2 campaign histories. This is not one of his better efforts. This is perhaps the 20th book on the campaign I have read [not counting the dozen or so board games I played on the topic]. So I could mentally reference the things he left out. Essentially he has done excellent tactical and terrain feel, barely adequate strategic overview and omitted the operational level. The tactical descriptions were quite good and gave a feel for what WW2 combat was like [a succession of platoon to battalion encounters that linked into a larger whole]. He does make the classic error of taking allied claims of how many Tiger tanks they faced seriously. Men in combat are not good at identifying enemy equipment. This is more true in conscript armies and for a variety of reasons the inept US individual replacement system produced a lot of very untrained men at the forward edge of battle. Every German armored vehicle was a Tiger to them, every artillery piece an 88. He avoided the second error, but fell into the first. It’s a minor thing but it grates. It is the operational level that is truly lacking. He does quite good command criticism, pointing out that few of the corps through theater commanders had a good grasp of the realities of the situations of their forces or their opponents. However he never tells you what they thought they saw. I could incorporate by reference from prior readings but this will be VERY frustrating if this is your first or second book on this campaign. He clearly knows his topic so my guess is the text was overedited by someone who either didn’t know or care. Finally, he brings to light new material on how destructive the campaign was to the local Belgians as well as the tit for tat rounds of executions of prisoners triggered by Peiper’s casual massacres. ( )
  agingcow2345 | Nov 6, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670918644, Hardcover)

This is from the bestselling author of Stalingrad, Berlin and D-Day, Antony Beevor's Ardennes 1944: Hitler's Last Gamble tells the story of the German's ill-fated final stand. On 16 December, 1944, Hitler launched his 'last gamble' in the snow-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes. He believed he could split the Allies by driving all the way to Antwerp, then force the Canadians and the British out of the war. Although his generals were doubtful of success, younger officers and NCOs were desperate to believe that their homes and families could be saved from the vengeful Red Army approaching from the east. Many were exultant at the prospect of striking back. The Ardennes offensive, with more than a million men involved, became the greatest battle of the war in western Europe. American troops, taken by surprise, found themselves fighting two panzer armies. Belgian civilians fled, justifiably afraid of German revenge. Panic spread even to Paris. While many American soldiers fled or surrendered, others held on heroically, creating breakwaters which slowed the German advance. The harsh winter conditions and the savagery of the battle became comparable to the eastern front. And after massacres by the Waffen-SS, even American generals approved when their men shot down surrendering Germans. The Ardennes was the battle which finally broke the back of the Wehrmacht. "Revealing, profound and thoroughly unputdownable, Stalingrad is an extraordinary achievement which transcends its genre." (Vitali Vitaliev, Daily Telegraph (on Stalingrad)). "This brilliant storyteller...makes us feel the chaos and the fear as if every drop of blood was our own: that is his gift. It is much more than just a humane account; it is compellingly readable, deeply researched and beautifully written." (Simon Sebag Montefiore, Spectator (on Berlin)). "This is a terrific, inspiring, heart-breaking book. It makes the argument all over again that the world would be an infinitely better place if it didn't keep producing subject matter for military historians: but as long as it does, we can rejoice that at the top of that profession is Antony Beevor." (Sam Leith, Daily Mail (on D-Day)). "His book is the definitive history. This is World War II as Tolstoy would have described it - the great and the small." (Gerard DeGroot, Washington Post (on The Second World War)). Antony Beevor is the renowned author of Stalingrad, which won the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Wolfson Prize for History and the Hawthornden Prize for Literature, and Berlin, which received the first Longman-History Today Trustees' Award. His books have appeared in thirty foreign editions and sold over six million copies.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 02 Jul 2015 13:19:17 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"On December, 16, 1944, Hitler launched his last gamble in the snow-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes. He believed he could split the Allies by driving all the way to Antwerp, then force the Canadians and the British out of the war. Although his generals were doubtful of success, younger officers and NCOs were desperate to believe that their homes and families could be saved from the vengeful Red Army approaching from the east. Many were exultant at the prospect of striking back. The Ardennes offensive, with more than a million men involved, became the greatest battle of the war in western Europe."--Book jacket.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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